I like meat as much as, or more than, the next girl. In fact, I’ve been known to wrinkle my nose at the suggestion of a meat-free meal or restaurant (much the same way I wrinkle my nose about melons, which is probably the only food that grosses me out). So when I went to Cool Al’s (4654 McWillie Dr, Jackson), which is famous for its burgers, it took some high praise (and the fact that I wasn’t particularly hungry) to get me to try their veggie burger instead of a real burger. But the veggie burgers at Cool Al’s have won about as many awards as their burgers, so after maybe a little subconscious nose-wrinkling, I went with the West African veggie burger.
It was delicious, and definitely better than most veggie burgers I’ve had. It was slightly spicy and very flavorful. It had a nice crust on the outside (possibly from being deep fried), giving it some texture despite being a thick slab of mashed beans. It was fairly bean-y, though, and tasted like a veggie burger (albeit a very good one), so if you violently hate veggie burgers, this one may not convert you.
But I liked the West African enough that I had high hopes for their other signature veggie burger, the Jamaican. I got it on my very next trip to Cool Al’s (again, instead of a real burger). From a distance (and in this horrible photo) it looks surprisingly like a real burger, and is about as heavy as one. I mean, don’t expect to be tricked into thinking you are eating cow, but also don’t expect to be unsatisfied — and this one may convert even an avowed veggie-burger-hater. Not only is it large and dense, it also has a ton of flavor; it is savory, gingery and has a building spiciness that contrasts well with the sweetness of ketchup.
Cool Al’s also has award-winning fries and real burgers (which, after three trips to get veggie burgers, I still haven’t tried — seriously damaging my meat-eating creds, I know). They cook everything to order and the wait can be long, so call ahead if you’re in a hurry: (601) 713-3020.